This is the last day of the trip but probably the best because I had the best meal right at the end!
Osaka Castle is probably the only historical sight in Osaka. The rest of the city’s appeal is more towards urban. The castle is more well preserved compared to Nijo-jo in Kyoto.
Entrance to the castle premises is free but going inside requires admission fees. A panoramic view can be seen from the top.
Lunch was at Yotaro Hoten because it’s located near Hotel Unizo Yodoyabashi and I remembered liking the food. I have been here previously with reservations but I noticed that walk in was possible so I did that this time.
The counter seats were all occupied so we had to take the table. For the tempura course, getting a counter seat is actually better because you get each item served individually. It is better to pace out the meal that way. Having many served at once makes you tend to eat faster and it may get too oily.
The tempura selection is different from what I had previously. There are autumn seasonal items like the fried chestnut and that sprig of rice, deep fried to pop.
I loved the idea of popped rice! It’s so beautiful, innovative yet simple.
Kaki-age – fritter of many small shrimps, ordered separately.
The tempura course costs ¥2500, with rice and miso soup if you wish, and I think it’s good value at this 2 Michelin Star restaurant.
The next destination after lunch was to Nara. As this was the last stop before heading home, luggages went along. It wasn’t much of a problem because there are many coin lockers at Kintestu Nara Station. Airport bus tickets can be bought from the tourist information center at Nara which takes you directly to Kansai International Airport.
Besides deers, Nara also has a collection of UNESCO sites, all within the same area. A nice picture book can be obtained from the tourist information center and it shows which are the sites of interest.
Kōfuku-ji is located nearest to the train stations. This is a Hossō Buddhist temple.
At a shop along the way I found chestnut soft cream! They have all sorts of flavours. The chestnut was good in my opinion, creamy, smooth and flavourful.
Tōdai-ji is the more popular UNESCO site here. It is a very big Kegon Buddhist temple.
Dinner was at Wa Yamamura, located near Shinomiya station just one stop away on the Kintetsu railway line. It was the best meal in Japan so far! Read about it here. Shinomiya has a lot of nice restaurants and it is a better place for a nice meal than Nara station.
After dinner I had to go back to take the 8:05pm Kansai Airport bus. The bus was scarily accurate and I reached the airport at exactly the stipulated time of 9:25pm for my 11:30pm flight. One way ticket cost ¥2050 and it is actually more worth it than taking the trains (which requires transits).
These are my purchases from Japan. I love everything! Stocked up on 8 months worth of Asahi collagen. There’s no better place to get this sort of stuff than Japan. I also managed to find some extinct CDs at HMV in Nagoya. Got some skincare and supplements from the drugstores too. The prices of DHC supplements are different in every shop so it’s best to compare around, and definitely cheaper in drugstores than their specialised countrer. It’s way lower than what you get in Singapore.
This is probably the most exciting part. The Kit Kat in foil packets can be found at drugstores and supermarkets, but those in boxes are available at tourist souvenir shops and the airport. It’s best to get them at the airport. As for regular pocky, it can be found at drugstores (limited), convenience stores or supermarkets. I found the summer seasonal coconut flavour at a supermarket in Kyoto. I love anything coconut!
The green tea flavours were found at the airport.
For local pastries, I suggest you do not get them at the airport. Also do not get them from tourist shops – the kind which sells a mish mash of products from various suppliers. These are usually not good. Most of the airport products left me unsatisfied.
I suggest you buy from shops which sells their own brands, like Tokichi Nakamura and Itohkyuemon in Uji. You can look at the place of manufacture too. Uji, Kyoto has the best matcha products. You won’t have such luck finding good matcha in Osaka or anywhere else!